BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – It was an instant classic East Coast Conference semifinal matchup between the No. 2 seed LIU Post Pioneers and No. 3 seed Queens College at Pioneer Soccer Park on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
There were no Halloween ghosts to haunt the Green and Gold on Wednesday, as the Pioneers advanced to the ECC Championship match for the eighth-consecutive season and will take on top-seeded Mercy College on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Mercy Field. LIU Post will be looking for the four-peat this weekend in its final season of competition in the ECC.
It was about as even a matchup as there could be, with the shot totals favoring Queens, 12-11, while the Knights also held an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Oliver Hessner Hansen played one of his best games of the season, however, making seven saves on the day and stopping the most crucial attempt of the afternoon on the Knights' final penalty kick attempt against Adrian Garcia to lift the Pioneers onto the next round.
Senior Lukas Ostermann, sophomore Tom Stenberg, freshman Javier Rehberger Martin, senior Vittorio Argeri, and junior Khalid Al Saud each bested Queens' goalkeeper Michael Bolvin during the five-round penalty shootout. Hessner Hansen came inches from stopping the Knights' first attempt by Andras Breuer, but despite getting a solid piece of the effort, the ball spun off his hands and floated into the net. Queens successfully converted its next three attempts as the shootout drew even at 4-4 through four rounds. Al Saud opened the final regulation round with a left-footed attempt to the bottom right corner of the frame to give LIU Post the advantage and Hessner Hansen took care of the rest, diving to his right to stop the low attempt by Garcia for the victory.
Both teams had excellent scoring opportunities throughout the contest. The Pioneers looked to jump ahead during the 55th minute when Argeri ripped a shot from the right side of the penalty area only to bounce off the crossbar and stay out. Another golden opportunity came during the 81st minute when Al Saud found space in the box and headed a low shot that bounced and deflected off the right post as the game remained scoreless.
Hessner Hansen made several great saves on the day, including one that does not show up in the stat sheet. During the 22nd minute, Cristian Villalta found space on the back post and headed an attempt that Hessner Hansen dove to knock off the left post. During the opening two minutes of the second half the senior was forced to make a one-on-one save at the top of the penalty area, before making one of his most heads up plays of the day. Midway through the second half the Pioneer defense looked to head a ball back into the penalty area for Hesser Hansen to secure but an errant header sent the ball flying towards an empty net. In what looked to be a sure own goal, Hesser Hansen laid out and swatted the ball with his right hand just off the post and out of play to keep the score line at 0-0. The Pioneer goalkeeper made another one-on-one save during the second half before making his final save of the day on a point-blank header during the 109th minute of action to help send the game into overtime.
The Pioneers will look to avenge a double-overtime setback to the Mercy Mavericks on Oct. 13 in the ECC Championship match this weekend with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m. A full preview can be found on www.liupostpioneers.com this week.
-Provided by LIU-Post Sports Information department.